MOU a Result of Strong Sister City Relationship between Chicago and Osaka and the Japan- Chicago Partnership Agreement

Today, as part of the continued strengthening of the sister city relationship between Chicago and Osaka, Japan, and the implementation of the Japan-Chicago Partnership Agreement, Chicago’s 1871 and the Osaka Innovation Hub (OIH) signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on innovation initiatives and programs to promote both cities’ burgeoning tech and innovation scenes.

The signing of the agreement follows a successful mission to Japan this past July by over 30 members of the Chicago corporate and civic communities, which was led by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Andrea Zopp, president and CEO of World Business Chicago. While there, the Mayor and Ms. Zopp met with Japanese government and business leaders including the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary to the Prime Minister, the Special Advisor to the Prime Minister, and the State Minister of Foreign Affairs. During the visit, Mayor Emanuel signed the Japan-Chicago Partnership Agreement with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This comprehensive agreement, which calls for innovation collaboration between Chicago and Japan, is the first-ever partnership agreement between the Japanese government and a city anywhere in the world.

“I am delighted that 1871 and the Osaka Innovation Hub are signing this agreement. Their collaboration will help build upon the already strong sister city ties between Chicago and Osaka and will help implement the first-of-its-kind partnership agreement that I signed with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in July of this year,” said Mayor Emanuel.
Osaka Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura said of the joint agreement, “OIH is helping to transform Osaka into a major innovator. I believe that this collaboration with 1871 is an essential step to establishing an international presence and growth of its start-up community.”

The agreement will help to develop Osaka and Chicago start-ups internationally through relevant services; promote opportunities for developing start-ups markets in each other’s country; help start-ups develop a presence in each other’s country, particularly through organizing dedicated
events; and allow for collaboration and information-sharing on the evolution of the start-up markets in each country.

“One of our missions at 1871 is to expand our reach and relevance so that we can inspire, equip, and support entrepreneurs not just here in the Midwest, but also throughout the United States and across the entire globe,” said 1871 CEO Betsy Ziegler. “Our partnership with the Osaka Innovation Hub provides startups in both cities with a platform to pursue international opportunities, share unique perspectives and innovative ideas, and increase their scope of operations on a global scale.”

“Today’s MOU signing symbolizes the beginning of a genuine partnership between the Osaka Innovation Hub and Chicago’s innovation base 1871,” said Michiteru Kashiwagi, Director General of the Economic Strategy Bureau of the City of Osaka, the organizer of the Osaka Innovation Hub. “This MOU has certainly bestowed an incredible opportunity on our respective innovation hubs. I earnestly wish that this newfound partnership will further inspire the efficient outcomes of startup collaborations as well as stimulate substantial economic growth in Chicago and Osaka.”

Ms. Ziegler and Mr. Kashiwagi signed the agreement at Osaka’s City Hall. The signing took place as part of events associated with a Chicago-delegation visit to Osaka. In addition to the signing of the agreement, Ms. Ziegler and Ms. Zopp, participated in the Osaka Women’s Forum.

“Chicago and Osaka are leading centers for innovation and I look forward to our continued partnership in the years to come. The agreement between 1871 and the Osaka Innovation Hub builds upon the strong bond and sister city relationship between Chicago and Osaka,” said Ms. Zopp.

“I am pleased that a further step has been taken today in implementing the Japan-Chicago Partnership Agreement,” said Consul General Naoki Ito of the Consulate General of Japan in Chicago. “As innovation is a key to economic growth for both countries, I expect this MOU between 1871 and the Osaka Innovation Hub will bring even a stronger relationship between Chicago and Osaka, and between Japan and the United States.”

This year, Chicago and Osaka are celebrating the 45th anniversary of their sister city relationship. With 28 sister cities around the world, Chicago has the largest sister city program in the United States. Osaka became Chicago’s third sister city in 1973.

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